Study Techniques, Part One

This is the first in a series of articles where I will discuss study techniques and other things related to studying. These articles will be relevant to all High School, College and University students. I will myself start studying medicine at the university in a month so these articles will be both for you and me. Without further due, lets start.

Studying with and without a study technique

Prepare yourself for lectures by examining the study plan, reading about the topic in textbooks and online. You don’t need to understand the things yet, just familiarizing with the topic is enough. Without preparing yourself, it will be a lot harder to grasp the new things and concepts during the lectures.

When the teacher brings up a new and maybe complicated theory or concept, you will at least have some frame of reference and be intrigued to finally learn about it. New things can often seem scary and difficult to those who have not prepared themselves for the lectures. You will just start stressing and thinking if you need to know this and will it be on the exam.

Make it a daily routine to familiarize yourself with the next days topics beforehand and you will be much more confident and relaxed on the lectures, which will increase your learning. Take roughly one sixth of the time you usually study, 15 minutes for example, to familiarize with the next days topics. If you just live from day-to-day without planning and preparing the new things will seem a much more difficult than what they really are. This is the major benefit preparing for lectures will give you, the new things doesn’t more seem so difficult and you start to enjoy studying and learn more.

When you are prepared it’s easier to just listen, think and focus on what the teacher is saying, without distracting yourself with copying the teachers PowerPoint on to your papers. In most cases it’s not smart to copy what the teacher is writing from word to word, because often you won’t have the time to really think and understand the things you’re writing down. There is of course the third option to just lay back and write nothing, but this isn’t really the greatest option either. Just sitting with a pen in your hand and sitting upright will make you more focused and you will absorb more information.

The smart student writes down just a few key words and phrases, which he has formulated by himself. They don’t need to mean anything to others, as long as they mean something to you and helps you remember what the important things were. This way you won’t be distracted and learn a lot more. Good notes should also be used later when studying the subject.

After lectures you can spot an interesting phenomenon. Everybody rush out and are relieved that the lecture is over and either go to the next lecture or home without really thinking again about what they have just learned. When you do this you don’t realize how much you forget. You probably think; “I will remember this” but that’s often not the case. You don’t notice when you forget stuff, and that’s why it’s smart to take five minutes of the break to quickly repeat what you have just learned. This is for your learning the same, as washing your hands after a visit to the bathroom is for your hygiene. A short routine of stopping to think about what you have just learned, has a huge impact on how much you will remember.

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